Views and Reviews by Jean McCamy
Oh dear, it seems that we aren’t going to have a first lady, or a first son, in the White House for a while. According to the news, Melania and Barron Trump are going to live in New York, at least until the end of the school year.
But, as if that weren’t bad enough, there’s not going to be a presidential pet in residence either. All our presidents for the last 150 years have had pets while in the White House and, if you count horses, there have only been two sitting presidents without animal companions. But again according to the news, Donald Trump is not an animal lover and has never had a pet.
Our early presidents had quite an array of animals — dogs, cats, horses, cows, assorted birds, and oddly enough, quite a few black bears. A pair of alligators owned by President Hoover’s son sometimes crawled around the White House grounds and, during the John Quincy Adams’ administration, a gator lived in a White House bathtub. Both Teddy Roosevelt and the Coolidge’s had near zoos on the premises. In addition to the usual collection of dogs, cats and farm animals, Roosevelt also had a badger, a hyena and a zebra while Coolidge enjoyed sharing life with a bobcat, raccoons, lion cubs, a wallaby, and a pygmy hippo.
In more recent years, presidential dogs have been the most popular “first pets” and they have been a source of pleasure for the general population as well as their masters. I remember a favorite childhood book of mine was all about Fala, the Roosevelt’s Scottie, and the Bush’s poodle Millie’s book about life in the White House was more popular than Barbara Bush’s memoirs about the same period.
Perhaps Donald Trump will surprise us all and get a poodle or a Pomeranian, but somehow, my mental picture leans toward something more flamboyant — perhaps a pair of white tigers or a Tasmanian devil on a leash.